“You make me feel happy, like one would feel before vomiting butterflies.
The stomach lurches, it churns and I feel uneasy and shifty, if I may say so. And then, it begins to hurt. It hurts so much that I feel pleasured. Long ago, I had read that the pain and pleasure centers are the same in the brain. See? Even God knew how much we love being in pain. The pain gradually magnifies and I know that it will happen any moment now. I rush to the nearest window and inhale. Deep breaths, one after the other. Fresh oxygen. I had also read that most of the air we breathe in is actually nitrogen. We believe in so many lies. And then, precisely at that moment, a host of colourful, patterned and beautifully delicate butterflies fly out… no, burst out of my mouth. Her eyes squinted and hands moved. You make me ecstatic. But, this love is extremely painful. It is so revoltingly attractive that there are times I want to bring you closer, entice you, seduce you and kiss you so deeply that you bleed. I want to leave you gasping for air, fearing that your life might end and yet, you would be asking for more. You want me, and only me at that moment and all I want to give is what you ask for. So, my darling, Happy birthday!”
Nikhil was stunned. He knew what he was walking into the day he had moved in with Maya, but this? She could write, think and comprehend emotions and better yet, express them in such lucid language using words in ways he never knew they could be, it made him blush like a six year old girl facing her crush for the second time in one day.
“Gosh, Maya! Oh My Gosh! Thank you seems to be such a sorry word to say after what you just…”
Maya would never allow him to finish his sentences. Partly because she already knew what he was trying to say and partly because she knew he wouldn’t be able to complete it without fumbling and then feeling bad.
“You’re welcome. See, even I can utter the banalities” She winked at him and scooted closer to snuggle into his arms. Nikhil knew he should be thanking God too, for giving him the pleasure of meeting her, no, for making her love him for he knew she was too good to be true! “Even the banalities sound eloquent when you say them.” He sighed.
“Why did you sigh?” Maya spoke into his chest, her head softly resting on his precordium. She had read that the area of the chest lying directly over the heart was called the precordium. Now she had a word for her favourite part of his chest!
“You know, even my thoughts aren’t as well-rounded as your words. I think with words like pleasure and making.”
“Yes, those are words too!” She laughed at his childishness.
“I would never be good enough for you, Maya. Why do you want me? I mean…”
“Wait! Where did that come from, Tiger?” Maya wasn’t fond of this conversation. She had never answered it either. It seemed to be something that kept haunting him, perennially and she required that he find the answer himself.
“Love without reason lasts the longest” Maya replied to him without looking up. Her ears were still listening to his beating heart with equal intent. Its rhythm had quickened but his chest was moving up and down with each breath, slowly and constantly. He was alive and that was the only answer she needed.
He would never understand the way she felt about him, because of him. She had never felt joy of this kind before he had blazed through her life. It was like an addiction for her. The more she got of him, the lesser it was. She had grown to fall in love with the nuances; his inability to express himself yet his face saying the entire story with surprising detail, his appreciation of her quirk for finding new words and facts, his acknowledgement of the very simple truth that he, was in fact, her fix.
Nikhil looked at her as she pulled away from his entangled arms to rest herself on the chair in front of the study. In one swift movement, she flicked the yellow lamp on, took out her notebook and ink pen and began scribbling. She was at work once more– her mind working its magic again.
She was beautiful, he thought to himself. ‘Beautiful’; such a shallow word for a woman with so much more to her than just that. He didn’t even have an appropriate word to describe her and there she was, effortlessly drawing loops, and crossing her Ts and dotting her Is– writing one breath taking paragraph after another and saying words which made him feel like he was the only man in love. He looked at his hands, the very hands that were cradling hers a few brief yet intoxicating moments ago, and wished that he has a word for her. He went in to shower, knowing full well that she would now be engrossed in her creation for sometime now. He kissed her forehead and went in.
The sound of the shower and tender fragrance of his soap reached outside; she breathed in deeply, itched her shoulder and continued to write.
She jumped right out of the chair. “What? You scared me!” She looked at the page of her notebook, soaked in black ink and the nib of her pen now lay broken. “What a beautiful mess, this is” She sang, and laughed, with her head tilting back to just the perfect degree. Her eyes would always close when she did that, after being witty. “That was a mighty quick shower! Did you forget something?”
“I have got the word. I have the word for YOU.”
She smiled and waited patiently for him to come toward her.
She was wearing his white shirt. Her smooth legs were crossed, the right over the left. Her toes were painted a bright fuchsia, chipped at the edges. Her fingers were long, artsy and now, ink-stained. Her hair was tied in to a bun, loose strands escaped from it to break free and kiss the nape of her neck. His shirt embodied her fragrance. She had an ink mark on her left cheek, right next to her lip. Her lips, so luscious, so full, curved into a smile. Her eyes, awaiting his words, questioning his sudden quiet stare. But he wanted to stare; he wanted to record every tiny detail of the moment. He wanted to remember the food stain on the right sleeve, the twinkle of her diamond ear ring, the outline of her waist, the time- 7:56 in the morning.
Just this once, only this once, he did not let her complete when she began speaking. He kissed her.
“Fiancée”, he whispered, proudly and anxiously.
“That’s perfect, just perfect.” And she had her fix for the day, she was higher than ever and she knew that she had made the right choice. She rolled her lips out and slowly uttered the new word for her, F-I-A-N-C-E-E, and watched him silently dance back into the bathroom. The sound of the shower and the familiar smell of soap flooded her senses again, and she knew that she was home.